What Sets a Great Producer Apart?
Some producers have a way of creating, manipulating and controlling sounds in a way which puts them in a league of their own.
Although these producers may seem superhuman, their music is built using the same building blocks available to everyone: solid aesthetic, knowledge of tools and great execution and refinement of ideas. Often striking the perfect balance between style and technique.
In this post we will explore how a great producer uses these areas to set themselves apart from the pack.
Taste and Aesthetic rule everything in music. Especially in electronic music where the producer has access to a broad scope of sounds, movement, tone, texture and energy.
Unlike in genres such as rock where a majority of the sound is determined by the gear used (type of guitar, drum kit, singers voice etc), an electronic producer has free reign to choose and shape every single sound. Each decision is determined by the producers aesthetic.
A great producer knows what is stylistically correct for the genre they are working with and won’t settle until the track feels right from conception all the way through mastering.
An experienced producer knows which tools work for their sound, their workflow and keeps them inspired through the writing process. Some producers love to work in a room full of synths and drum machines, others simply need a handful of samples and a DAW. At the end of the day, it comes down to what allows you achieve the best result.
It’s important to note that equipment very much a personal thing. Many great producers disagree on which pieces of equipment are ‘great’ because it doesn’t work for their sound or their way of working.
There are some gifted producers who do absolutely everything themselves, whereas others are more conceptual and collaborate with other people who are more hands on.
Music production is about knowing your strengths and weaknesses and using them to your advantage. A smart producer will concentrate their energy into their strengths and then work with other artists, sound designers and engineers to maximise the quality of the final product.
What’s important to note here is that a great producer does not have to be technically brilliant. Vision and understanding of music is far more important.
When first starting out, producers often make decisions which are rough and do the job because they lack the understanding of what could be done better. After working on hundreds of tracks, experimenting and learning from mistakes, a producer will consistently make decisions that are more deliberate and make the track feel more cohesive.
This process of refining never really ends and as a producer gains experience and techniques they find ways to make their tracks sound more natural, contain effortless energy and work like a well oiled machine.
Can It Be Learnt?
Every great producer was once a novice. Through hard work, dedication and passion for great music, they acquired the skills they needed to make great music.
Although some people pick up certain skills quickly and more easily than others, it’s possible evolve your aesthetic, learn to make better decisions and work with people who compliment your skill set and help you create better music.
Above all else, if you have good taste, are dedicated enough to put in the time it takes to become a great producer, you have everything you need.
If you would like to find out how to improve your productions, feel free to get in touch below